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Hit or Miss: Jen Blanco

Young local golfer has drive to be a champion.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. March 2, 2016
  • East County
  • Sports
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Alana Kutt and I first crossed paths on the golf course at Palm Aire Country Club nearly four years ago. 

Kutt was 6 years old at the time and had just won the Walt Disney World Resort “Little Linksters” Junior Masters Florida Tournament. 

The two of us sat down and began chatting about everything from golf and horseback riding to ravioli and a pet rabbit named Brownie. 

It didn’t take long for Kutt’s nerves to flutter away and before long the quiet and reserved Tabernacle Christian School first-grader was giggling. 

Seven months after our initial interview, Kutt won her first Linksters Tour Player of the Year title in 2013 while playing in the girls and boys 7-to 8-year-old division. She was awarded the Crystal Cup trophy, which is given to the player with the most accumulative points in 12 events over the course of the season.

To say she was more than a little excited about the trophy would be an understatement. She couldn’t wait to show it to me and clutched it tightly in her tiny hands while grinning from ear to ear. 

Since then, I’ve kept in contact with Kutt and her family and watched her develop into one of the area’s most talented elementary-aged junior golfers. 

Last summer, Kutt competed in the U.S. Kids World Championships where she placed 20th out of 75 of the top 9-year-old junior girls from 25 different countries and earned an automatic bid for this summer’s event. 

This past week, I learned that the Kutt, now 10 years old, has added another crystal trophy to her collection after being named the Player of the Year on the Little Linksters 9-10 competitive boys and girls circuit. She scored 285 points to finish 45 points ahead of the competition and capture her third straight Player of the Year honor. 

"I was very happy because it was my third year in a row winning the award," Kutt said. "I thought it was a great accomplishment so far in my junior golf career, being more consistent and getting better each year and all my hard work paying off.

"I think the third time was the toughest this past year," Kutt said. "Playing in the 9-and 10-year-old division was fun. There are many great and talented players, the distances are longer and the golf courses are very challenging." 

Congratulations, Alana. I can’t wait to see the newest addition to the trophy case. 


Braden River senior Ryan Walker’s name is now proudly on display inside the Pirates gymnasium. 

Walker, who won the school’s first swimming state championship in the 100-yard breaststroke back in November, was presented with his state championship ring and shown his banner Feb. 25, in front of the entire senior class. 

The banner will join Tevin Bryant’s weightlifting state championship banner, which has been hanging since 2009 and had previously been Braden River’s only state championship until Walker’s first-place finish. 


Some records just take a little more time to be broken.

During the Florida YMCA State Short Course Swimming Championships Feb. 12 through Feb. 14, in Orlando, Lakewood Ranch freshman Sebastian Aguirre broke the 100-yard butterfly record, which had stood untouched since 2002. 

Aguirre touched the wall in 52.99 seconds, eclipsing the previous mark of 53.62. He also posted first-place finishes in the 200 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle to win the high point award for the 14-year-old division with 152 points. 

Aguirre quickly returned to the pool to begin preparing for the 2016 YMCA Short Course National Championship April 4 through April 8, in Greensboro, N.C.


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